Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is a ruined Benedictine abbey sited on Whitby's East Cliff in North Yorkshire on the north-east coast of England.

The stark and magnificent ruins of Whitby Abbey are much more than a spectacular clifftop landmark. Generations have been drawn to this dramatic headland as a site of settlement, religious devotion and literary inspiration

It was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria, Oswy (Oswiu) as Streoneshalh (the historical name of the town Whitby where the abbey is located). He appointed Lady Hilda, abbess of Hartlepool Abbey and niece of Edwin the first Christian king of Northumbria, as founding Abbess. The name Streoneshalh is thought to signify "Fort Bay" or "Tower Bay" in reference to a supposed Roman settlement that previously existed on the site. This contention has never been proven though and alternate theories have been proposed, such as the name meaning "Streona's settlement"; a reference to Eadric Streona. This is highly unlikely though due to chronological considerations: Streona died in 1017 so the naming of Streoneshalh would have preceded his birth by several hundred years.

The double monastery of Benedictine monks and nuns was also home to the great Saxon poet Caedmon. In 664, the abbey was the site of the Synod of Whitby, at which King Oswiu ruled that the Northumbrian Church would adopt the Roman calculation of Easter and monastic tonsure.

In 867, the abbey fell to Viking attack, and was abandoned. William de Percy ordered that the abbey be refounded (1078) by Regenfrith (Reinferd) a soldier monk, dedicating it to St. Peter and St. Hilda. Later it became Presteby (meaning the habitation of Priests in Old Norse) then Hwytby; next Whiteby, (meaning the "white settlement" in Old Norse, probably from the colour of the houses) and finally Whitby.

The second monastery lasted until it was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540. The abbey buildings fell into ruins, and were mined for stone, but remained a prominent landmark for sailors and helped inspire Bram Stoker's "Dracula".

Image gallery

External links

* [http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/whitbyabbey/ Information About Whitby Abbey]
* [http://www.whitby-yorkshire.co.uk/abbey/abbey.htm History of Whitby Abbey]
* [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/NRY/Whitby/WhitbyHistory.html Whitby History]
* [http://www.wilfrid.com/images/whitby1.jpgAnother view of Whitby Abbey (taken by Peter Green)]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Whitby, Abbey of — • Formerly called Streoneshalh. A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, founded about 657, as a double monastery, by Oswy, King of Northumberland Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Whitby Abbey — Ruine von Whitby Abbey Whitby Abbey ist ein ehemaliges Kloster in Whitby, einer historischen Hafenstadt an der Nordseeküste der Grafschaft Yorkshire in England. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abbey of Whitby —     Abbey of Whitby     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Abbey of Whitby     (Formerly called Streoneshalh). A Benedictine monastery in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, was founded about 657, as a double monastery, by Oswy, King of Northumberland …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Whitby — Koordinaten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Whitby (disambiguation) — Whitby is a fishing port and tourist destination in North Yorkshire on the north east coast of EnglandWhitby may also mean:* Synod of Whitby, a council which led to the unification of the church in Britain, held in now called Whitby Abbey *… …   Wikipedia

  • Whitby —   [ wɪtbi], Hafenstadt in der County North Yorkshire, Nordengland, an der Nordsee, 15 800 Einwohner; Kunstgalerie und Museum; Seebad, Fischereihafen.   Stadtbild:   Die Kirche von Whitby Abbey (657 gegründet) wurde 1067 von den Dänen zerstört, um …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Whitby — infobox UK place country = England official name= Whitby latitude = 54.4858 longitude = 0.6206 civil parish = Whitby population = 13,594 (2001 census) shire district = Scarborough region = Yorkshire and the Humber shire county = North Yorkshire… …   Wikipedia

  • Whitby — Coordenadas: 54°29′8.88″N 0°37′14.16″O / 54.4858, 0.6206 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Whitby — /hwit bee, wit /, n. 1. a port in SE Ontario, in S Canada, on Lake Ontario. 36,698. 2. a seaport in E North Yorkshire, in NE England: ruins of an abbey; church council A.D. 664. 12,717. * * * ▪ England, United Kingdom   town, borough of… …   Universalium

  • WHITBY —    a seaport and famous bathing place in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 54½ m. NE. of York; is situated at the mouth of the Esk, and looks N. over the German Ocean; it consists of an old fishing town sloping upwards, and a fashionable new town… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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